The entertainment world was a bit rocked when the account of Demi Lovato's self-check in at a rehab facility hit the news.
But should it be?
Of course, I am always saddened to hear about people in pain, and I am so glad that Demi cares enough about herself to get some help. But honestly, I am not surprised when news of this sort comes out of Hollywood. How many examples do we need of people who make it big only to find out that no amount of external success can truly give us peace and contentment?
And that leads me to think about all the pressures you have to deal with from just a normal-ish type life. No, you don't live in the rock star fish bowl, but you are in the shark tank called High School - and that's a world of anxiety, stress, and performance that can emotionally cripple even the strongest of teens.
So how do teens deal with it?
Well, there's the obvious ways like drugs and alcohol, but I've also seen more subtle ways of coping with the emotional pressure that aren't as obvious, and they are related to Demi Lavato's situation. Sometimes teens who don't know what to do with the erupting waves of anxiety turn to bullying and/or cutting. I know that you already know this, but did you also know that Demi was bullied as a child, and her reason for checking into rehab might be related to cutting? There are some deep issues going on with her that need specific and radical treatment.
And you too, right? Maybe you've been bullied; maybe you've bullied others. Perhaps you cut because you think it can release the emotional stress and pain from your life situation. Or it could be that you are simply tired…sick and tired actually…of running on the treadmill of life and not seeing any way to get off and catch your breath.
Not everyone can afford professional help at a treatment facility, but there is an ancient cure that has a complete and 100% success rate that I would like to point you towards. It is a blessing for the bullied and a cure for the cutters, but you have to ingest these truths into the core of your being for them to be effective. So let the words wash over you like an ocean of comfort…hear Jesus Christ speaking to you in a gentle and soothing voice as His words bring peace to your anxious feelings:
Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me - watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly (Matthew 11:28-30, The Message).
Here's another way to hear this promise:
Then Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light" (Matthew 11:28-30).
This promise is for anyone in any situation, and especially for those who feel trapped and unloved. Jesus beckons you to offer up your life to Him, then watch Him take the good, the bad, and yes, even the ugly and craft it into something miraculous.
So if you are bullied, remember that He was beaten…He knows the shame and embarrassment.
If you are mutilating yourself, remember that He was mutilated to the point of being unrecognizable - and He took the wounds to heal yours!
If you are tired, remember that He fell to the ground in exhaustion on His way to the Cross…but He made it to the place of His death so we could live a life of love and fellowship with Him now and later in heaven forever!
Jesus Christ invites you and your friends on a journey through life that will teach you to live 'freely and lightly.' The moment you trust Him as Savior is a passage into an entirely different world than the selfish, cruel, pressure filled place we all find ourselves in.
Weary traveler…may you find rest for your souls!
Flashpoint: Ignite Into Action
Do you have friends who have been bullied or maybe are cutters? Pray for them, and pray for an opportunity to share the gospel and the message that can free them of the emotional stresses and pressures of being a teenager in this anxious and pain filled world.
Accelerant: Feed the Fire
You will keep in perfect peace
those whose minds are steadfast,
because they trust in you (Isaiah 26:3).
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid (John 14:27).
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world" (John 16:33).